North Long Beach lacks a recreational swimming pool, but that may change

Residents in North Long Beach don’t have many options at their disposal to keep cool on hot summer days.

Densely packed neighborhoods like North Long Beach are already feeling the effects of climate change with warmer temperatures recorded in that community compared to other parts of town.

A public pool would seem like an immediate solution, as is the case for other Long Beach neighborhoods near public swimming areas, but families living on the northernmost end of the city often have to travel greater distances just to take the kids for a swim.

The lack of public pools has also deprived youth in North Long Beach of aquatic recreation that could lead to healthier lives. Community health assessments from 2019 showed that 13.4% of residents in North Long Beach have diabetes, higher than the 10.3% of residents in Long Beach as a whole.

That lack of accessibility could change now that the Long Beach city council has shown interest in conducting a feasibility study to find out how much it would cost to construct a public pool in North Long Beach and to see where it would be built.

“We’ve had so much to focus on, that we hadn’t gotten to it,” North Long Beach Councilman Rex Richardson said, “but now is the right time.”

A memo from Richardson’s office is requesting the Park, Recreation and Marine Department staff to conduct the study and to report back with their findings in November. The official request will be made at the Aug. 3 city council meeting.

“The city of Long Beach should evaluate closing this critical gap by evaluating the creation of the city’s fourth public pool, located in North Long Beach,” the memo read.

North Long Beach’s 90805 ZIP code is home to over 90,000 residents. Families in this community face a unique disadvantage in that they have to travel over 4 miles to reach a public pool, according to the memo from Richardson.

While there has never been a city-owned and operated public pool, according to Richardson, nonprofit groups in North Long Beach and Jordan High School have offered limited access to some residents.

Jordan High School’s pools are open during the summer and allow for after school activities.

Ed Baligdad, a former Jordan High School teacher, said the school’s pools had been open to the public and offered 50-meter swim lanes.

A nonprofit called Pools of Hope provides pool access to residents at the California Aquatic Therapy and Wellness Center on Long Beach Boulevard. The group works with attendees through a number of aquatic therapy sessions in a warm-water pool.

There also are two public pools in Lakewood on the border of Long Beach, though there is a $2 fee for children and a $3 fee for adults that are Long Beach residents.

The idea behind the city’s approach to creating a public pool would offer residents a free alternative to those other locations that would potentially be open during other seasons besides summer.

Richardson added that a new pool would most likely be built on the northeast end of North Long Beach, near Ramona Park and the North Pointe apartments beside Davenport Park.

“These youth have to travel the farthest to any pool in Long Beach,” Richardson said.

Residents who’ve expressed support for a new public pool said it would help reduce travel time since some go to Silverado Park, which is nearly 7 miles away from the center of North Long Beach to use the pool there.

“I hope this goes through,” resident Ana Pison Sanford wrote on Facebook. “I have to drive to Silverado for water exercise. We need one [in] uptown.”

Here’s a list of public pools where you can swim in Long Beach

Ambitious reconstruction of Artesia Boulevard to break ground winter 2021

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Sebastian Echeverry is the North Long Beach reporter through the Report for America program. Philanthropic organizations pledged to cover the local donor portion of his grant-funded position with the Long Beach Post. If you want to support Sebastian's work, you can donate to his Report for America position at lbpost.com/support.
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